Johnston: Then and Now Revamped

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Staff Writer

  1. 1846- Johnston was first established in 1846 when a man, Ezikel Hunt, opened a small saw mill . The land where that saw mill started is now the palette company, Iowa Palettes, off of NW Beaver Drive.
  2. 1908-Camp Dodge covered 4,500 acres in Northern Johnston and invited many more to the area. It was transferred over to the National Guard during World War 1 and 2, and served as an Army base. During that time it expanded to 6,400. It remained open throughout the 1900s and serves as a training area still today. Many of the population during the 1900s came from Camp Dodge, and that still holds true today.
  3. Railroad-During this time a railroad was created going through the town, this allowed it to get the name Johnston Station.It was named after John F. Johnston, one of the station agents for the railroad. This railroad put Johnston on the map.
  4. 1920s-The growth of the community was also assured when Henry A. Wallace created Pioneer, a Hi-bred corn company, here in our little town during 1926. Henry A. Wallace became Vice President in 1941, and now one of the five elementary schools in the district is named after him.
  5. 1915-The workers that the railroad and Pioneer brought allowed the Johnston School District to be established. The first class of Johnston High School graduates consisted of eight students. However small, those students built the legacy that we, Johnston high schooler’s uphold today.
  6. 2000s-The city has continued to change since the establishment, growing in population and decreasing in cornfield per square mile.
  7. 2010s in Corteva-In the past ten years, Pioneer; now Corteva Agriscience an international company, built a new office off of 62nd in the what used to be a corn field. The building, Pioneer Hi-bred Crick, is a Research center housing around 400 employees, taking up 180,000 square feet of space. This was an addition to the other buildings in DuPont Pioneer’s Johnston Campus, next to the road, Pioneer Parkway.
  8. 2010s in City Development- The city’s changes have impacted the course of Johnston as well. One being the roundabouts added to 62nd. However, they have led to much improvement in traffic flow according to Community Development Director, David Wilwerding who stated, “If you drive 62nd Avenue today you might get a little annoyed because you have to slow down around each one, but when is the last time you stopped around that stretch of road.” The city has been allowing more multi-family, apartment complexes and elder care assistance housing, permits. Since 2008, 1375 New Dwelling Permits, which allow for a property to be registered and “legal” in city records, have been given for multi-family homes.
  9. 2010s in School District- The Johnston Community School District has made the most changes out of the places listed, since 2008. In 2008, it was discussed by the school board that due to growing population, they should look into the possibility of splitting the district into two high schools. The original writer, Jenna Willson, interviewed Bob Thomas, the former Treasurer or the Johnston Historical Society and graduated in 1941 from Johnston said, “I think we would loose sportsmanship if we had two high schools.” The community chose a different route, it was voted in 2014, that the Johnston School Dirstrict would build a new high school to house the growing population. Work began in 2014 and was finished in 2017. Once the new high school (6500 NW 100th St.) was finished, the school district moved the middle school building into the original high school (6501 NW 62nd Ave.) and renovated. Wallce elementary school took up and renovated the old middle school’s building (6207 NW 62 Ave.). The endevour cost approximately 74 million dollars.
  10. Future-The community has more planned for the future of Johnston. One of the main projects being the Johnston Town Center Plan. The Johnston Town Center is a plan for a place where citizens in the community can connect with each other.“We are trying to create that place where people can come and have a destanation where everything comes together.” Wilwerding said. This plan is set to begin late 2019 or early 2020.